The government is likely to review the direct-to-home (DTH) television services policy guidelines to make it commercially viable and attractive to private investments.
The 10th working group on I&B ministry set up by the Planning Commission, said in its report that the present policy on DTH, announced over a year back, has not been able to promote the growth of digital set top boxes and must be reviewed at the earliest.
In November 2000, the government had announced the policy for DTH ventures in India. The policy had put a 49 per cap on foreign investment and 20 per cent cap on broadcasting and/or cable company. The entry fee for a 10-year license was pegged at Rs 10 crores, plus an annual revenue sharing of 10 per cent with the government.
Additionally, such a venture was to have an open architecture set top box compatible with any service if more than one DTH platform came up.
But the broadcasting industry wanted the government to waive the annual revenue sharing clause and also the 20 per cent sectoral cap. A typical DTH platform with about 100-odd channels would require investments in the region of $ 500 million.
Companies like Rupert Murdoch’s Star Group, Subhash Chandra’s Zee Telefilms, Prasar Bharati, MTNL and VSNL had evinced early interest in DTH services. But only Star seems to be still in the running of late.